Cloth diapers contribute to zero waste goals


Cloth diapers contribute to zero waste goals

In a meeting of strategic partners of the Reuse Alliance, I made contact with one of the consultants working on the Zero Waste plan for Oceanside, a city just north of San Diego.  When a community attempts to reduce their waste through recycling and composting initiatives, there is a residual waste component that still remains - a large portion of which (15-20%) ends up being single-use plastic diapers.  Therefore, this consultant asked me to submit recommendations for the types of cloth diaper programs Oceanside could adopt to reach closer to their zero waste goals.

This being a new area for me, I did a lot of research on existing zero waste plans, focusing on the types of programs that best support the use of reusables in place of single-use alternatives.  The recommendations I submitted include cloth diaper educational programs, financial incentives for families to use cloth diapers, support for institutional (hospitals, daycares, elder care homes) cloth diaper use, cloth diaper business support, and increased access to diaper laundering facilities (laundromats, hotel machines).  (If you're interested in the details: oceanside zero waste diaper recommendations.)

>>June 2012 UPDATE: The Oceanside City Council approved the zero waste plan unanimously - - including the cloth diaper support portion!

Picture (c) Environmental Psychology Research Group, The University of Surrey 2005

I've been told that solid waste managers need to periodically update their plans.  If we provide recommendations to these managers as to programs that can reduce diaper waste in their municipalities, they just might adopt them.  Want to see a cloth diaper subsidy locally? Ask for it!  Join the Diaper Aid Hub Facebook conversation and share your experiences with others advocating for similar incentives.

Heather McNamara

Executive Director, Real Diaper Association

Add new comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.